Offense stalls as Kings lose to Wild, 3-0

Offense stalls as Kings lose to Wild, 3-0
Kings winger Dustin Brown, right, fires an off balance shot as Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba checks him during first period action at Staples Center on Thursday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

They are trending in the wrong direction.

The Kings have gone from scoring four goals in a game against Detroit 10 days ago to scoring three goals in each of their last three games … all the way to zero.


There are going to be power outages during a long-and-winding NHL season — particularly in the dog days of Games 40 through 60 — but the Kings' offense stalled and sputtered on Thursday night at Staples Center.

The Minnesota Wild beat the Kings, 3-0, behind a 32-save effort from goalie Darcy Kuemper. It was Kuemper's second shutout of the season and seventh of his career and he had not won since Dec. 22.

"That was just a very poor effort," said Kings forward Tyler Toffoli. "I think we really weren't prepared to play and it showed. We had our chances to score and we didn't bear down.

"They are a team, similar to us, if they get up, it's tough to score on them."

For Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Thursday, it was his second loss in regulation in his last 12 appearances.

It was an equal-opportunity effort from the Wild. Minnesota scored a power-play goal in the second period (Zach Parise) and an even-strength goal in the second (Charlie Coyle) and a short-handed goal in the third period (Erik Haula).

Haula's fourth of the season came at 5:04 to make it 3-0, off a two-on-one attack with captain Mikko Koivu. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was the only one back and Koivu showed his veteran patience, waiting and holding, and his pass went between Doughty's stick and skate to the wide open Haula.

For Minnesota, the short-handed goal was its fifth of the season. The Wild, however, has been struggling to score goals in any fashion, of late. Parise's goal was the Wild's first power-play goal in January and halted an 0-for-25 slide.

Coyle, who was stopped on a breakaway shortly after Parise's goal, would not be denied later in the second period, scoring with 13.6 seconds remaining.

His goal was subject to a long look by officials after Kings Coach Darryl Sutter made a coach's challenge to review whether Minnesota was offside.

The original call on the ice stood, and the NHL's situation room issued a long explanation:

"After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the linesman determined that Coyle had possession and control of the puck as he entered the attacking zone, even though his skates preceded the puck over the blue line."

Minnesota came into this game having scored a mere four goals in a five-game losing streak. One of those goals was by former Kings center Jarret Stoll, who scored in the Wild's 3-1 loss to the Ducks on Wednesday.

Stoll, one of the Kings' heart and soul players in their two Stanley Cup championships, was honored with a video tribute on the scoreboard during a first-period stoppage in play and received a standing ovation.


After the New York Rangers put Stoll on waivers in December, the Wild claimed him. Stoll had signed with the Rangers in the summer as a free agent after having spent seven seasons with the Kings.

Stoll was asked what was going through his mind during the tribute and ovation.

"It was great. It was awesome," he said. "Obviously chills everywhere.... I just wanted it to end as quickly as possible.

I would have got emotional, or started to, maybe."

Follow Lisa Dillman on Twitter: @reallisa